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Multnomah University Students Engage




Letter from the Editor BY AARON ESPARZA PHOTO BY AARON ESPARZA After examining all the stories in this edition, I’ve come down to a mental juxtaposition on the matters of love: some say true love is only in choice and not feeling, and some say both. Tim Reed’s story on God’s ultimate “Public Display of Affection” reminds me of the song that includes the lyrics, “...and heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss.” Did God have a choice in that? Or shall we say He was compelled by love because He is Love? And since He is compelled, so are we. But if we are compelled, then is it really a choice? Kristen Leach’s story about love in loss shows me how we can find greater love in the midst of suffering. We observe Christ’s example. And we see there is a choice in how the attitude affects the behavior. Yet, I read the story about Jared Reando and his “not-so-much-love” for the game. Though his choice was not compelled out of love to play basketball, he did so because he had free time and said “why not?” Here, his behavior affected his attitude. Interesting. In dealing with identity, the story by Abby Thiessen about dating up or down delves into sociology. The author writes how we should not seek to appear “better” in the social realm based on someone’s status, but rather, if they have those good, invisible attributes of the Bible, then we find a hidden treasure passed by one who does not see such inner beauty. Yet, if we are walking a godly path, would He allow us to choose a dating partner that is not fit for us because we chose out of how good

of a status they may have? Perhaps that person should have widened their “sphere of consciousness” to the attractiveness of the unseen inner beauty. Perhaps. And perhaps (in a totally unrelated way) one could read The Great Divorce by Mr. Lewis and wait for “the one” to sweep her away. Unless, you meet your future husband in a dark parking lot unknowingly, like Debra Biaggi, and you’re ready to gouge him with your keys between your knuckles.

“...if you allow yourself to be changed by the stories and actually ponder and converse upon these glimpses into people’s lives, you will realize that this edition is more than sweet nothings whispered by a Shakespearean poet. “

But what if love isn’t a choice? If our identity and worth is not based on what we do but rather our Imago Dei as stated in the article “Why do you Love Me.” Then could perhaps my love be just as compelled to exist (or not) dependent on how much the Imago Dei is known to me? And then again, if I continue to muse on love, I find myself charged with human responsibility.

If you only take one story out of this edition and read it, you will only go away with a piece of the bigger picture. But if you allow yourself to be changed by the stories and actually ponder and converse upon these glimpses into people’s lives, you will realize that this edition is more than sweet nothings whispered by a Shakespearean poet. So when it comes to understanding what love is, you decide.




Multnomah University Students Engage

“I will meditate on all your works and muse on all your deeds.” –Ps. 77:12 MUSE EDITOR | Aaron Esparza EDITORIAL DIRECTOR & FACULTY ADVISOR | Cornelia Seigneur FEATURES EDITOR | Kristen Leach INSIDE MU EDITOR | Gian Cook ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR | Tiina Mall STUDENT GOVERNMENT PRESIDENT | Trevor Whitman STUDENT GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR | Abby Thiessen REPORTERS | Kristen Leach, Tiina Mall, and Gian Cook CONTRIBUTING WRITERS | Tim Reed, Rhys Pasimio, Brittany Kramberg, Dino Biaggi, Debra Biaggi, Chris Hansen, Abby Thiessen, Trevor Whitman, and Ian Macrae PHOTOGRAPHERS | Aaron Esparza, Cornelia Seigneur, Michael Choi, Brent Looyenga, Nancy Noble, and Kristen Leach BLOG DESIGNERS | Laura Stone and Liz Clark EDITION DESIGNER | Liz Clark ARTISTIC DIRECTOR | Michael Choi Muse is an online student publication that is a collaborative effort between Multnomah University’s 2011-12 Journalism Department and the Student Government Communications Department. The content published in Muse does not necessarily represent the opinions of the wider Multnomah community or administration.


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Living to Love


BY KRISTEN LEACH PHOTO BY KRISTEN LEACH Bethany and Ryan were married for six weeks after four years of being together: going on family vacations, cheering on University of Oregon Ducks, and playing with their cat named Boots. Then Ryan, at 25 years old, passed away from what started as testicular cancer. Numerous students at Multnomah University have been experiencing the reality of losing a loved one this year. We’ve lost parents, grandparents, cousins, and others who are dear to us. Joel Brizzee, 23, a student at Multnomah, watched his cousin Bethany lose her husband Ryan. The pain is great. The hurt never seems to leave. As we grow older, we come to realize that no life lasts forever. Someday, those closest to us will no longer be here. Pain and sorrow are guarantees in this fleeting glimpse of life, but one truth withstands all challenges: Love. If we let it, perhaps, just maybe, the deepest hurt can lead to the most vibrant love for others and for Christ. Pain is too often seen as unacceptable. Dealing with it, even more so. Our society tells us we need to have everything together – all the time. We need to suppress the hurt in order to move on. These are destructive lies that prevent healing from occurring. Just because we are hurting or sad does not mean we are not

good sons or daughters of the King. We do not need to be happy all the time. “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance,” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says. Pain is feeling, deeply. Hurt, at times, penetrates to a depth no one else can relate with. In this time, we find the courage to accept this without being consumed by it. Pursuing healing and growth is healthy in this process. We must allow ourselves and others to deal with the loss: to remember, to hurt, to cry, to question, and to be upset. It’s normal and good to grieve, and it looks different to each person. Everything and everyone in this life passes away, and with this comes the most uncertain and shaken way of life. But there is a Truth that never fades. And He never leaves. There is no greater example than that of Jesus Christ. He wept. He was stricken, afflicted, and acquainted with grief. He felt deeply enough that He endured sorrow and suffering and even death. He loves us that deeply. When you lose someone, which we all will at some point in time, you realize the depths of your love for that person. If you are hurting, you are loving. Missing someone and grieving the loss of someone are expressions of your love. Or, maybe you neglected loving someone who is now gone or you wish you had loved them even more. Because they are gone and you are hurting, you see clearer the importance to not

take for granted any moment in which you can love someone. Loving in the midst of loss, you not only feel pain deeply, but you also feel love more deeply than before. You see love and life in a deeper sense. That pain, that loss, can open your eyes to loving more.

“PAIN IS TOO OFTEN SEEN AS UNACCEPTABLE. DEALING WITH IT, EVEN MORE SO.” Bethany did all she could to care for and be with Ryan in his suffering. She loved more deeply in the midst of the pain, realizing the time was very short. She was with him through every chemo treatment and hospital stay. She took a leave of absence at work to be there for him, and she put her own social life aside so he wouldn’t be alone. Bethany’s cousin Joel observed this sacrificial love and was reminded of Jesus’ words: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The greater love involves sacrifice. Oh, but if only we had such eyes. To see like Bethany in living to love even in the midst of losing – to let our deepest hurt bring the most vibrant love and to love where we are in the losing and grieving process. Here, we are closer to the Lord than before, because in His hurt, He loved us.




Dating Up or Down: Looking at how we measure those in relationships

BY ABBY THIESSEN PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK You and your friend are eating Indian food from the nearby food cart in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. As you’re enjoying one’s company, you also take the time to catch up on some quality people-watching, which is quite the past-time. Curiously captivating, you can learn so much about the nature of man and yourself simply by observing. As you watch other people -- how they dress, how they walk, how friends and families interact -- you begin to form opinions about what you prefer and value. When a woman walks by in a well-tailored business suit, you assume she is independent and successful. Yet, when two young frazzled looking parents with a screaming infant and snotty toddler walk by, you would pass judgment that they are overwhelmed and even wonder if they for a moment regret certain life choices made in the past. But, the pinnacle of people-watching perfection is reached when a couple strolls by. Couples are fascinating. We may wonder, “how did they meet? What stage of the relationship are they in? Is one person being honest with the other? Do they even get along?”.


Only so much can be observed when you pass a couple on the street, which is why peoplewatching is a gem when you happen to be sitting across from a cuddling pair on the Max Train or having a picnic near a blissful pair at Mt. Tabor. Seeing the love, the flirtation, the uncomfortable awkwardness or the disinterest is all quite entertaining. God is the inventor of love and so the beauty of two people falling in love reflects His very own image. But

then, like the fallen creatures we are, judgments move from simply observations to evaluations. We love to think we have the right (given our limited knowledge) to evaluate the couple purely based on what we gather from people-watching.

Facebook app allows users to rate couples as dating up, down, or equal. Somehow, our cultural idea of what beauty and attractiveness is determines how much a person is worth. I recently discovered a Facebook App called Dating UP or Dating DOWN. It is a tool that allows you to enter certain information about yourself and your date, such as your name, age, smoker or non-smoker, height, weight, income, education and employment. You also include photos of you and your date posted next to one another with all your information displayed. Users can then vote on you as a couple. Dating up? Dating Down? Or Dating Equal? People want to know what others think and are starving for approval from a shallow, ruthless and unqualified audience. How can we as a society encourage this type

of dating anyway? It places all of the value on things that do not matter, yet some of us buy into it when we are caught in the mundane routine of people-watching. This mentality is damaging not only to the people around us, but also to ourselves. When we elevate the importance of the physical and diminish the importance of the spiritual and emotional, we are selling ourselves short. Either we don’t pursue someone who is ‘out of reach’ or disregard someone who is ‘beneath’ us. Judgments that society make upon couples often sadly pertain to shallow and unimportant qualifications: looks, body type, style, and wealth. Ashamed as I am to admit it, I fell into the trap as well. I would be people-watching and see an “unevenly matched couple” and make quick judgments based on what I saw and ruthlessly decide who is Dating Down and stooping below their level, whether that be in looks or in the social ladder, or who is Dating Up and “out of their league.” It really is a cruel reality and says a lot about how I had let society corrupt my idea of love and happiness. Not only did I evaluate others, but I also passed judgments upon myself. I used to be afraid I would never find someone because I wasn’t as outgoing as my peers, or I wasn’t thin enough, or simply because I had never been asked out before! These are all shallow insecurities that kept me away from knowing who I am in Christ and the value that I hold. I had projected those past requirements of myself onto others. I now have grown to understand that there are certain standards to hold myself to that are right and good -- such as godly character, gentleness, and kindness -and some that are unrealistic and self depreciating like altering my personality traits and body image.


What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman?

Does it even matter?




Steve & Celestia Tracy Val Clemen Barbara Feil Paul Louis Metzger Brad Harper Domani Pothen Elizabeth List Daniel Christiansen Tom Schiave Katie Langner Beyth Hogue Greenetz Wink Chin





BY TIM REED PHOTO BY MICHAEL CHOI Pink mist lilts through the branches of the Multnomah aspens, signaling the arrival of spring in Portland. Two matching hearts wander together between the library and Sutcliffe Hall. Overwhelmed in their reverie, the two reach out and interlock their hands. Glancing around, they share a quick kiss and continue their blissful walk. Some ignore them. Some look away. Some comment on how “cute” they are and giggle. ___________________________________ Aaron the high priest stands before the brazen altar. Filled with remorse and awe, the people of Israel turn their eyes upon their high priest. The ram next to him bleats, expressing his uncertainty of this situation. With determination set in his eyes, Aaron lays his hand on the ram’s head and ends its life. __________________________________ What do these two seemingly dissimilar events have in common? Or rather, what idea is more readily connected to the first than to the second? The common link between our stories is the word “love.” You see, many people believe that “love” is the first example – a feeling and expression of devotion between two people. But how should Christians look at love? How


did Christ look at and demonstrate the con- ultimate expression of love – the choice we make to love is brought to consummation in cept of love? how we surrender who we are and what we When we examine love, we basically come to desire. It is not only a joy, but love is also a duty. two main ideas behind the word. One is the idea of infatuation or romantic love. Then, we Just as it was Aaron’s duty to make atonement have the concept of love as a choice – either a for the people, so it is our duty to express the conditional choice or an unconditional choice. love of choice. It is our decision and privilege. The blissful couple in our first example were How often we cheapen our idea of love by demonstrating infatuation in spades – the limiting it to an emotion. If love was a feeling, common feeling, or emotion, of love that we then why would Jesus have said “My command to you is this: Love each other as I have often speak of as coming from our hearts. loved you. Greater love has no one than this, This is the type of love seen in our acronym that he lay down his life for his friends” (John P.D.A. (“Public Display of Affection”) and it 13:34)? In fact, we very rarely see any exprescannot be produced or controlled. In modern sion of infatuation in how we are to live, but society, this is the facet of love that is most we are rather commanded to love. heralded and which occupies the majority of our thoughts and motivations. However, I do not believe that this is the primary love that we are to focus on. I believe that Christ focused much more heavily upon the love that is rooted in choice. While infatuation inhabits the realm of the feelings, I think both kinds of true love rest in the realm of choice. I wish to put it to you (and I want you to put this idea to the test) that true love is not a feeling or an emotion. Yes. Forget the Disney princesses and Top 40 love songs. True love is a choice. A decision. A sacrifice. A surrender.

“...true love is not a feeling or an emotion... True love is a choice.”

Would Jesus have subjected himself to having nails driven through His wrists for a mere feeling? No. Jesus was acting from a choice – a commitment – a duty. By taking the place of the highest sacrifice, Jesus took away all of our sins in a simple act of love. A simple, yet costly, choice of love. Are we loving as Christ This is why our second example was included. loved – as a choice? We need to stop focusThe sacrifices showed the gritty, everyday side ing on infatuation and instead imitate Christ’s of love. Such sacrifices cover our sins and re- ultimate Public Display of Affection. Dying on deem us – they pave the way to holiness. The the cross for us. Only then will we truly love as choice to surrender in sacrificial ways is the Christ loved.






THE ENEMIES: HATRED & INDIFFERENCE BY RHYS PASIMIO This one is about love. Any discussion about love deals with conflicts with God, with others, and with self. Our function as humans is to love God and love our neighbor with our whole being, and a healthy love, or at least respect of self, is an essential means for accomplishing this goal. Yet the most basic function is often the most difficult endeavor. What is standing in our way?

“THE MORE YOU UNDERSTAND, THE MORE YOU CARE.” There are at least two enemies of love. Probably more, but I will only address two. The first is one you might expect – hatred. Love and hatred viciously compete for dominance in the heart and soul, often existing intertwined with the other. But how does hatred work? We might quickly answer that, “We hate evil things!” But from what I see of the world, very few things are truly and wholly evil. Genocide and child abuse find their way onto the list and perhaps a few other things, but many other dislikable things are in actuality only difficult and complex.


Indeed, I suggest that more often, we use hatred to protect us from the things we fear and the things we do not understand. You can hate anyone from far away if you don’t really know them. And because you think you hate them, you are prevented from connecting

with the far away figure and prevented from loving her. In this way, hatred (which may only be fear and ignorance) is an enemy of love. The second enemy of love is indifference. Said another way, it is the attitude that says, “I don’t really care.” This is one that is perhaps less apparent, but much more common. Indifference strikes a blow at love when we walk by the bum with a cardboard sign. When we take our drink from the nameless barista. When someone fills our gas tank and we maybe see his or her face. When politicians do their best to serve their country and we take no notice. When a man or woman sits across the aisle in church every Sunday morning for months and months and months and we never learn their name. When we’re sitting in traffic or standing in line and think only of our own hurry, neglecting the hurry of the hundreds around us. In these and more scenarios, we are not hateful people, nor do we hold anything personal against the people we don’t notice. We may not even be mean or rude. But neither are we able to love because we simply don’t notice or think about them. These enemies present formidable challenges...but also tremendous opportunities. Hatred and indifference can both be mastered by love. But love must become practical and tangible. One way this can happen is if we increase our understanding of the thing for

which we feel hatred or indifference towards. The more you understand someone, the harder it is to fear her or hate him. If we truly (or at least better) understood the people, beliefs, and lifestyles, we think we hate, I dare say we would hate a lot less. And it progresses. The more you understand, the harder to forget. The more you understand, the more you care. How much extra effort is it to at least smile at the bum? To chat with the barista? To learn the gas station attendant’s name? To make conversation with new people at church? To learn about who our politicians are? To recognize that there are seven hundred other people stuck on the same on ramp at 5:47 p.m. and all of them are tired and hungry and eager to get home, and their lives are just as equal as mine? That is a lot of steps and a lot of people. We won’t understand them all in one day. We won’t connect with them all in loving meaningful ways this month. Realistically, we cannot invest ourselves in every other human around us. But we can see them. We can acknowledge them. We can imagine their perspectives and feelings. We can recognize the divine spark, the image of God in every man, woman, and child around us. We can at least look for opportunities to love and when they arise, for they certainly will, we can embrace them - embracing people, building our understanding, building our compassion, and dealing a blow to the enemies of love.








Meeting in a Dark Parking Lot Dino: I saw her across the room at our church’s 20’s group in San Francisco and thought to myself, “Who is that?” It was like that for weeks. I finally had the chance to find out when we both got invited to a mutual friend’s Italian night, which included dinner and a movie. Of course, being Italian, I was all over that. When I got to the apartment complex, I couldn’t find the correct apartment. So I began wandering around the place and I found myself in the darkest part of the most deserted parking lot with this girl walking towards me -- the one I wasn’t able to meet yet. I began to walk towards her, and then I thought, “This doesn’t look good...I wonder what she’s thinking?” So before I got maced or pepper sprayed I said to her, “My name is Dino and I am looking for... so and so.” I knew who she was, but she didn’t know who I was. Debra: I was lost too. Little did he know that I’d splayed my keys out between my fingers, all ready to pop this creeper in the face! After Dino introduced himself and helped me find our friend’s place, I ignored him because he was cute and he made me nervous – this mysterious, stoic man fresh off the mission field. That made him prime game in that particular social circle, and I didn’t want to be one of those girls! Dino: As she was about to leave, I heard in my head, “Walk her to her car.” I looked around to see if someone else had said that, considering the movie Italian Job was still playing, but nobody had said anything. I heard it again, and I looked around. This time my heart started to

beat quickly. She was almost at the door, saying her goodbyes and I heard for a third time, “Walk her to her car.” I got up, a little weirded out, and the awkward moment came when she said, “Hey Dino, are you leaving too?” “,” I said with that little embarrassing crack in the voice that just shouts confidence. Debra looked at me suspiciously and started to walk really fast to her car. We exchanged pleasantries from a distance because I actually didn’t walk her all the way to her car. I’m still not sure why I did that. As we said goodbye with me on one side of the street and her on the other, I watched her drive away. I remember thinking, “What was that about?” I was sure that it was the Lord that had prompted me to walk Debra to her car, but why? I got home later that night and told my roommate what had happened and he said, “It sounds like it’s to be continued...” Friday the 13th... And the Residual Effects Dino: Our first date. It took a few months of awkward, stilted conversations before the opportunity arose and I asked her out. We walked around downtown, chatted, and finally had dinner at an Irish Pub (along with being Italian, I’m also Irish). As the evening came to a close, after walking her all the way back to her car, I asked her out again for the next night. Debra: We started a tradition that night of sitting in a square under a big old tree strung with lights and listening to live music while we asked probing personal questions and philosophized about life and heaven and Jesus. I miss that tree.

Dino: During this whole time, I was praying for wisdom on what to say next and for grace to not say anything lame and to know what to do. So, I prayed a lot! Our second date went really well. We went to The Cheesecake Factory for dessert (we skipped dinner to get to the good stuff). When we got back to the cars, this time I was much more clear about my intentions. I asked her, “Is it okay if I pursue you?” She said yes, but I wasn’t quite sure if she got what I meant. The whole idea of pursuing Debra has been foundational to our relationship, and it’s even in my wedding vows. The idea comes from the never-ending pursuit of the love of God in the life of a believer. This was the best way that I could express what I saw in her and what I wanted to create with her.

“Little did he know that I’d splayed my keys out between my fingers, all ready to pop this creeper in the face!” Debra: What I remember about The Cheesecake Factory is that when it came time to pay, he squinted into his wallet and said, “Well, guess we’re washing dishes tonight.” Later, when he said he wanted to pursue me, I figured he meant going out some more. That sounded good to me – free food and sparkling conversation with a tall guy who smelled great and had a steamy five-o-clock shadow. Why not? He then started calling me every day.



The Four Letter Word Debra: I was a novice at being a girlfriend so I felt way out of my depth. As we continued to date, I spent lots of time on the phone with my parents, talking over all the warm fuzzies and cold feet. What I remember as most impacting was Dad telling me that even if his exteriors didn’t all match up to what made sense, I’d “know if he was it” when I knew I trusted Dino’s heart - trusted his intentions in life and how tender his heart was toward the Lord. Even though we didn’t match up in every practical way (sometimes I got scared that he was a heretic in the midst of heated discussions on secondary doctrines), I quickly grew convinced that this guy wanted to listen and wait for the Lord. Dad’s advice freed me to decide I could team up with him, submit to him, and follow him as a husband with the confidence that it would be really good because I trusted the Spirit’s continued work in him.


Dino: I knew within the first couple of weeks that this relationship was different. I had this reoccurring thought that I was getting to know my wife. It took many months to tell her I loved her. I didn’t want to scare her or flippantly say it without processing the depth, weight, and implications of that word. When I finally did say it, Debra said it right back, with a sigh of relief, and we held each other a long time.

Ring by Spring Dino: No, we weren’t in Bible college at the time. Throughout our relationship, we have always tried to have a blend between the ancient and the modern. We wanted our relationship to model honor, respect, and some of the “old school” ways and still be intentional about how we did the relationship. And we both wanted to create a relationship that reflected us and what the Lord had done. Debra: What was one practical outworking of this abstract concept? An old-fashioned ring with a brand-new sparkle, presented and accepted after an amazing dinner and night out on the San Francisco Bay. This all happened after I innocently moved his coat, (which contained the ring) over next to me where he couldn’t reach it and subsequently got very fidgety and flustered. Dino: I almost wet myself in anxiety when I went to propose because I couldn’t find the ring! Summer of Love Dino: With the idea of blending the old and the new, we wanted to blend two core themes in our relationship: weightiness and fun. These were the themes of our wedding, a quick three months after the engagement, and of our relationship since then. Both of the ideas stem

from our walks with the Lord. Debra: Weightiness and fun in the wedding meant goofy music and a super-relaxed reception. It was outside and 95 degrees so everybody besides me and Dino couldn’t help feeling sluggish anyway. Yet, it also meant some intense vows. Part of mine included respecting Dino to his face, behind his back, and in my private thoughts with myself. That last part, especially, hasn’t been a cakewalk, but remembering my dad’s advice and reminding myself of Dino’s caring and godly intents really helps. Dino: Part of my vows included pursuing, loving, protecting, and honoring Debra. This has been hard, but it’s the kind of hard that leads to a really good relationship. Now and Laters Dino: Since then, both of us continue to proactively walk out our vows by the active grace of God. I am constantly praying for wisdom and strength to be faithful to the covenant that we made and, so far, He has sustained us. My hope is that as we continue to walk out the ways of Christ through the ways of our relationship, that He would reflect Himself through us. So, in the words of my friend, sounds like it’s to be continued...


New Heights BY GIAN COOK

Lions’ Late Addition Adds Stature to Basketball Team In the realm of sports, great situations and moments take time to develop. Hours, days, semesters, and full years have to go by in order for situations to blossom into harmonies of nearperfect orchestration. For the MU Lion’s and MU senior Jared Reando, three-and-a-half semesters went by in order for a serendipitous combination of three-point shooting, athleticism, and size to occur. Better late than never.

community leadership responsibilities have dominated Reando’s schedule for the past threeand-a-half semesters, but now with a very light schedule, Reando was free to play. And Coach Bickley pitched one final offer to the graduating senior. “Coach came to me and asked me to play, and I was available and interested,” Reando said. “So far, it’s been really great to meet and play with these guys. Everyone has been really welcoming and accommodating.” I can imagine why.

In his first game since his high school days in 2005, against Walla Walla University, the 6’8”, 230 lb. center posted a stat line of 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks in only 17 minutes of play. Not only did he block three shots, but he also altered many others. His presence on the court, offensively and defensively, helped propel the Lions to victory that day; optimistically, he’ll have that same effect for the Lions come post season play. A legitimate and effective post player is what MU basketball has been lacking for some time, but 6’8 center Jared Reando will look to fill that hole. He may be the piece that propels the Lions to a regional championship (in the upcoming regional tournament in Lancaster, California) and a reputable national tournament run. “Defensively, at the very least he contends for many rebounds, which is something we needed,” Jackson Flah, a freshman from Palm Beach, Florida said. “Offensively, just because of his size, he demands double teams which opens it up for everyone else.” But Reando’s defensive presence is the core reason why Head Coach Curt Bickley recruited him. “We need him to block shots and rebound,” Bickley said. And block and rebound he does – and very well. In his first, and only, six games

Albeit, slivers of apprehension and anxiety may have crept into the minds of the Lions. It’s a rarity that a college team will add a new player into the mix so deep into the season, and adding a new player will always shake up team chemistry in some way. But the team has indeed accepted and assimilated Reando into the group.

PHOTO BY BRENT LOOYENGA late in the spring semester, Reando averaged 7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, including a 3- and 2-block game against Walla Walla University and Northwest Indian. His presence has definitely been felt in his short-lived career, but where did this guy come from and why join so late in the season? Ever since Jared stepped his size-14 foot on campus, Coach Bickley has asked Reando to join the basketball team, but Reando had to decline the offers for a more academic path. Being that he was an Resident Assistant in the dorms and involved with English tutoring, he is also an accomplished storyteller and poet. As an English major, Dr. Schaak papers and

“I added Reando because I knew that this team could handle it,” Bickley said. “So far, it’s worked.” Reando’s last experience with organized basketball was in the Alaska State 5A basketball championship game, where Reando led his Heritage Christian High School to victory. Even after a seven year hiatus from the game, Reando has exhibited those uncanny shot-blocking and rebounding abilities that led his team to the state title. “I feel more connected to the game than I thought I would,” Reando said. “There has been some difficulty getting conditioned and understanding plays, but overall it’s been really exciting to be a part of a team again.” It’s only going to get better, Reando – the skies the limit.





We are worth loving because we’re created in the image of God Love: the word scares me. The action of loving someone scares me. I could go as far as to say I fear anything that has to do with love, especially if you’re talking about the love of God. I don’t understand why anyone would love me. I mean, in all honesty, what makes me worth loving? What makes me worth anything?


God, I only heard that He punished bad people and rewarded good people with love. Thus, I needed to be good. Even after I was saved, I believed that if I messed up really badly God would withdraw His love from me somehow.

According to God, I’m worth not only loving, but also dying for; I’m worth saving and I’m worth putting God’s only Son through suffering. But what is the motivation behind loving me? God has to have some kind of catch, or does He? I struggle with these questions and answers constantly.

My worth was built in what I could or couldn’t do. When those things were taken from me, I found myself feeling worthless and unlovable. But then, God brought people into my life that love, cherish, and adore me. My world turned upside down and I don’t think its ever recovered. I don’t want it to recover. It’s not what I do that makes me worth loving, I’m worth loving because I’m created in the image of God.

The home I grew up in was “loving” in the sense that you were loved for what you did. I lived in fear of that love being taken away, and perhaps one day I would find myself not worthy of being loved. If I didn’t do well in school, I was punished. If I upset my parents, I was punished. Everything that didn’t sit well with my parents resulted in punishment, and doing good meant rewards, including the words, “I love you.”

The action of love is powerful and speaking that word can be too, yet also scary. Love heals, and the lack of love hurts. Love changes lives, and lives without love...well, they don’t always last long. I love because God’s love changed my life and the love of His sons and daughters continues to change and shape me. I can never answer why God loves us. I have to accept that He does and it blows my mind.

To me, love meant this: if you did something good, you were loved. If you do something bad, you aren’t. There was never an unconditional love or a love that surrounded you regardless of my actions. So whenever a preacher talked about

We are meant to love and be loved. We are meant for great things through God, but we must understand that love is a huge thing. If we don’t have love for God and people, then we aren’t any use. If God hated us, He wouldn’t have sent

Jesus; He wouldn’t have to save us; He wouldn’t care. But God does love us, so He changes lives and redeems.

“I CAN NEVER ANSWER WHY GOD LOVES US. I HAVE TO ACCEPT THAT HE DOES AND IT BLOWS MY MIND.” You are worth loving, and so am I. And the good news is that we don’t have to do anything to achieve His love towards us! Why do people love me? Because God loves them. Am I worth loving? Oh yeah. Are you worth loving? Of course. Why does God love us? I have no idea, but I’m so glad He does.




I believe this type of bond can truly unite all of us. Today, society strongly encourages us to be independent and to do our own thing. But where do we find that in Scripture? It is said that we can experience the greatness of God’s love through relationships with one another. How amazing is it that we are so closely intertwined here on this campus even though it is only for a short time. We have the opportunity to interact with each other on a daily basis and love each other in the process. And sometimes, it boils down to choice: to either invest everything we have into school and life at Multnomah, or to do our own thing and distance ourselves from this campus.

BY TREVOR WHITMAN PHOTO BY MICHAEL CHOI Love and motivation. What is the correlation between these two words? Some would argue that you are motivated to do things that you love, and some would say that through love you would become more motivated. I have experienced both. I have deeply enjoyed my time on Multnomah’s Student Government since I was a freshman, and the opportunity to become Student Body President this year was really exciting. I feel that the longer I have been in office, the more I love my job and team. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with, and I am proud to consider them successful colleagues and also friends. Of course, this year has come with struggles –

Those whom I have seen invest everything they have into Multnomah have grown significantly. We certainly reap what we sow, and what has been sown into us brings a harvest. And when times get hard, let’s not run away from one another, but instead draw closer. And, when times are good, let’s celebrate together. like any school year does – but our team has only gotten stronger. For instance, during our all-leadership retreat in August, one of our team members told me that his dad was having brain surgery and didn’t know whether or not his dad would make it. Though he was shy about it, I encouraged him to share this information with everyone at the retreat so that we could pray for him and his family. That night, after I introduced the topic to the group, he shared the story of his dad’s health condition, and the response of the team astounded me. They spoke encouraging words to him, and the entire group huddled around and laid hands on him and prayed together. Nothing inspires me more to work hard on this campus than a place that encourages that kind of community.

Our Student Leadership Team models this every week during what we call “Prayers and Appreciations,” which is my favorite part of meetings. We share what’s going on in our lives, ask for prayer, and praise God for what he has done; we also verbally affirm those who willingly served or did something well. When a prayer request is brought before the team, we pray for it each week, and when God answers, we praise Him together. At Multnomah, we learn a different kind of love, a love that is unknown to most people. Yet, it is up to the students to create that kind of environment. And I continue to remain motivated to do my job because of the inspiring people I get to work with. So, I’m saying thank you students for making Multnomah what it is today.




Over the holiday break, I had the pleasure of reading for leisure C.S. Lewis’s book, The Great Divorce. As a graduate student, I don’t often get the chance to read for fun and I have been wanting to read this book for years. Yet, there was “something” in this book that I’ve also been avoiding, and here is what I found – it was the truth about love. The Great Divorce is a story about people who are on a bus bound for heaven from the depths of hell. Once they reach heaven, they are presented with a choice: Stay in heaven or go back. Of course, we all think, “Who would ever choose hell in midst of heaven?” but don’t be so quick to judge; the choice is actually tricky.


The narrator takes us on a journey through heaven with him. Together, we watch as each passenger is met by a heavenly envoy whose sole job is to convince the passenger to choose heaven, life, and true love. The messenger could be a former friend, spouse, or enemy on earth. It is always someone who had influence in the earthly life of the one deciding – influence that was either bad or good. Lewis’ story is haunting as you watch each passenger justify selfishness and refuse the greatest love.

The bus passengers reason themselves out of heaven for their love of earthly idols: ideas, possessions, people, and pride. Two stories struck me from this short book – the stories of two women. The first story is about a mother refusing to let go of her favorite son who had died young. The second story is of a wife, a heavenly envoy, pleading with her husband to make the choice for heaven by unshackling himself from his bitterness. In the first woman’s story, the mother cannot let go of her son; she would rather keep her love for him than accept the love of the One who could take away that ache. The envoy sent to her was her brother, who pleads with her to let it go and let True Love in, the Love of God, the three-in-one. If she would choose heaven, she could see her son again. At this thought the woman perks up and considers the idea, but offers an ultimatum: only if she can have all of her son’s love and time on her own terms. “No” is her brother’s reply. “Her son is now in love with the Only Love he will ever need.” Hearing this, the woman becomes defiant. . . distant. The narrator walks us away from this heart-

breaking scene insinuating her choice. She won’t choose heaven because to do so would mean laying down the love of her son for a rival Love that can fulfill him much more. She would have to love him in a different way and that was not okay with her. Her heavenly messenger simply tells her this: “Love, as mortals understand the word, isn’t enough. Every natural love will rise again and live forever in this country: but none will rise again until it has been buried.”

“[They] ...reason themselves out of heaven for their love of earthly idols: ideas, possessions, people, and pride.” Are you this person? Holding on to a cheap version of love because, at the very least, it’s your version (your idol) and no other? I confess, I am that woman. I want love on my terms from whom I want it, when I want it, and how I want it. But this is not God’s way. The second woman in the book shows us a more accurate picture of His way of love.

Two chapters were devoted to what I call “The Love-Filled Lady.” Lewis spends several paragraphs describing the entourage of this woman: children dancing, musicians playing, people laughing, all in a long processional marching before this woman. She had a fanfare of praise preceding her. Why? This woman was great in heaven for the love she showed on earth. Every person this Lovefilled Lady met on earth was said to have instantly become her child or lover, not in a defiled way, but in a way that called them to be more pure towards those around them. Oh, this lady loved righteously, my friends. Yet her husband hated her for it. As she comes to him to convince him of heaven, he cannot accept it. He is chained to his own self-loathing and pity, bitter because this Love-filled Lady never loved him on earth to his liking. He wanted her to need him in heaven as she never did on earth, and she confessed she never could again need him now that she is in True Love. She tells him plainly, “What we called love down there was mostly the craving to be loved.” But now she had it all: she was full, not empty. She was in Love Himself. “Come and see,” she pleads with her husband. But again, this bus passenger will have none of it. This place of heaven has nothing he wants. C.S. Lewis confesses in his preface that the story is only intended to provoke the reader’s thoughts. Lewis has the ability to give our natural, temporal eyes a glimpse of what we should be seeing and believing about spiritual reality all along, knowing that the unseen is the ultimate reality and truth. I agree with him: as mortals, we hardly understand what the all-consuming love of God is and how He wields that love in this world. As I devote my life and career to the study of God’s Word, the more I am convinced our definitions of love are distorted compared to His. And of course they are! We are fallen. I struggle to love and be loved well. Perhaps, I write this for myself more than I write for you. I can hardly let my friends love me. Even when the friend I most cherish stares me in the face and calls me arrogant and presumptuous for not accepting his righteous love of me, I balk and scream at him, in selfish pride and vanity. I am insulted and proud; not humbled and accepting. His love isn’t on my

terms; I claim to know best. I am the first woman instead of the second – thinking I know what love is and how to love. I pretend I alone possess the monopoly on love; I alone decide if I am lovable or not. Cherished friend, if you are reading this, I am sorry and thank you for calling me out on my pride. You have changed my life forever and in your pushing back, you are a heavenly envoy to me and I choose heaven. I don’t know what love is, but I am beginning to understand that righteous love is truth stated plain, even when it hurts. Love wants God’s best for the other person, recognizing that only God IS the best for each person. I need people to show me truth – as heavenly envoys – to move me closer into the white, hot flame of God’s love. Would you allow someone to show truth to you? Do you show truth to others? Or does your selfish love get in the way? I know my article is long, but listen: We don’t need a day in February to celebrate love. As believers, we should be emanating love every day. It’s a spiritual duty, a fruit of the Spirit growing within us and ought to be radiating from us. It’s part of our spiritual act of worship of the One who performed the ultimate act of love – self-sacrifice. By sacrificing Himself, He purchased us. We’re free to live like “The Love-Filled Lady.” When Lewis described her, I wept. A craving, a yearning, a throbbing so

deep in my heart, which had been squashed down was suddenly resurrected. I wanted to be her...and then God whispered: “You can be her. Daughter, you already are.” May His righteous love ooze from you.











ETERNITY Making the Story Known



Multnomah University’s Global Ministry Conference has come and gone. Don Richardson, the keynote speaker, had me crying within his first 30 minutes of the opening plenary session. This year’s theme, Eternity: Making the Story Known, was broad but it reminded us that we are not alone. We are a part of God’s story and His story is Christ for all people. The story is not just for Multnomah. We are part of God’s story for the whole world and we are blessed to be part of more than just ourselves.

There were so many others that graced Multnomah this last week with their stories, wisdom, and challenge for us to be missional minded. The Global Ministry Conference, which was conceived by Dave Jongeward, can scare, frustrate, or inspire us. Hopefully we will be inspired to grow in Christ and in our participation of His great commission, however He enables us to do so. For more info about the conference speakers and ministries or to listen to the workshops and plenary sessions, visit Multnomah University’s website.





Love-versation: My Confession BY MIKI GAO I’m sorry. I’m sitting right next to you, and I still choose to sin. But . . .please don’t let me go. Child, let me in. Come to Me when you are burdened and tempted. I will relieve your burdens. I will be your strength against temptation. Let me in to the deepest, darkest parts of your heart. The parts that you hide from the world, the parts that drive you to sin. The deepest, darkest... the parts I don’t want others to see. I don’t want You to see them either. To see the blackness of my heart, to show You the most vulnerable, the most scarred... is to show You a broken and weak heart. This heart is where I make my throne. Where it is weak, I will make it strong. Where it is sinful, I will make it pure. Where it is scarred, I will make it beautiful. Where it is broken, I will make it whole.

My heart drives my thoughts. My thoughts drive my heart. To let You into one is to let You into the other as well. Will You hate me when You see these places? Will You abandon me? Will You forfeit this weak child? See the wounds on my hands, the wounds on my body. I endured it all so I might find you, to bring you to me. I accepted it all to ransom you. Was it worth it? The pain, the torment, the undeserved punishment. Was what You got worth it? Separation from the Father, abandonment from the world. Was I really worth it? You are worth every drop of blood I shed, every tear I wept. Every strike, every shun, every word of ridicule, every trial. My child is worth more than these. How can You be so sure? I’ve failed you so many times when You’ve never failed me once. Why haven’t You abandoned me? You

have every right to. Child, I have bigger plans for you that outshine your 40 years in the wilderness. You wander now, and you get off track. Yet, I am always with you, and I will guide you to a road that won’t leave you ridden with guilt. I will lead you to a road where you will experience my joy, but you must choose to walk upon it. Oh, how I wish for you to dance in my joy. Joy against pain. Purpose against emptiness. Living against existing. Courage against fear. Success against failure. Love against hate. What do I have to do to gain this? To dance in Your joy? Feed my sheep. Love my children. Lead them as I lead you. Love them as I love you. Forgive yourself. The spirit is what is strong. So come to Me. Don’t hide your heart from me. And use it to love my sheep. And to love your Shepherd.



WHEN WE SAY, “I LOVE YOU,” WHAT DO WE MEAN? I like you? I enjoy being with you?


I want you? I support you from a distance? I support you up close? I will serve you? I will sacrifice for you? I will stick with you? I agree with you? I disagree with you, but still like you? Actually, I want to use you? Actually, I’m stuck with you and have to get along with you? Well, we’re blood related, so why not? OK, our conversation’s ending and I’m leaving so…good-bye? I heard these words in a movie once? I don’t actually mean anything, it just sounds pretty? I love the idea of love? I like feeling like I’m doing some good? I don’t want to be alone? I know you need to hear these words? 32

Only three words. Clearly, clarity is a bit scarce. These common words may be spoken or heard with purity or ambiguity. They may be empowering or harming or confusing. There is risk in saying, “I love you.” And yet, these are the words our deepest souls most long to hear, most long to see lived out. These are the words that heal, that bring life. So then why are these words the most awkward to say? Why are they the hardest to show?

When it comes to love, what are we afraid of?

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ARTS & CULTURE | FICTION | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS BY CHRIS HANSEN There once was a man who lived a righteous life. He walked humbly, in submission before the Lord God, and he loved others as he loved himself. And the Lord God loved him. One night, the Angel of the Lord came to him in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give you. Anything you wish under heaven for which you ask I will make yours. What shall be your request?” “Lord, you have shown great and steadfast love to me and have shown me your salvation. I have walked before you with an upright heart. And now you have offered your servant this gift, although I am but a little child. I do not know your ways. Your ways are far beyond me and greater than my understanding. I have always wondered, Lord, what is the difference between heaven and hell? If you will but give your servant insight in this, that I may discern between good and evil, that is all that I should ask.” And so the Lord God said to His servant Michael, “Take and show him heaven, and take and show him hell, that he might know the difference between them.”

At that moment, a flash of light eclipsed all that was visible to him. He saw that hell was dark, except for a single light from a smokeless, sourceless fire that surrounded everything, yet consumed nothing.

plainly in their expressions.

Michael was dressed in garments as white as snow. As the man faced him, the angel’s presence poured out light and his wings surrounded the man. In a heavenly voice, the angel said, “The difference between heaven and hell is one of love and one of relationships. Now turn and view hell.”

As before, he turned to see a luxurious table with an abundance of fine foods. A great king’s table. Once again, there were many seats that were all inhabited and nothing was spared. The arms of all the guests were enclosed within brass and locked, but these all looked healthy and fed. Their eyes shown bright with joy, hope, and love. They looked as though they had no knowledge of tears. They were at peace.

As he turned, a luxurious table appeared with an abundance of the finest foods – a table fit for a king. There were many extravagant seats around the table. Nothing that could be desired was spared. There were guests at all the seats of the table, but none of them ate. Their arms enclosed within bracelets of brass that gripped tightly from below the elbow to above it, holding their arms in a straight and fixed position so they could not deliver the tasty morsels from their hands to their mouths. Though much food was placed before them, their bones shown through skin. Their eyes were sunk in and the hopelessness they felt shown through

Feeding Neighbors “No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.” Eph. 5:29


Another flash of light radiated all around. Upon its fading, the angel said, “Turn and witness heaven. What do you see?”

Though their arms could not bend, the people were feeding their neighbor and being fed by their neighbor. Questioning Michael, the man said, “What is the difference?” The angel replied, “In heaven, people provide for each others’ needs, without reservation or concern for themselves. They willingly submit to the needs of others. Look closer and see their fruit of love. That is the difference between them and the inhabitants of hell.”


“I have a favor to ask.” Keeping her voice steady, her green eyes held Amara’s gaze.

Read parts I and II of Remember Me. “Speak,” Amara said with her head tilting as her eyes lightened with curiosity.

Chapter 2: Achima trudged on towards the Castle of Orfeo. She held onto the words Malachi said to her on the King’s behalf. Knowing that the King was with her helped calm the knots that had seemed to invade her stomach. Raising the veil to cover her face, she began to walk to Orfeo’s castle. She was after the depraved man who enslaved her people.

“I wish to hold court with Orfeo.” Before the words were out of her mouth, Amara began to chuckle.

Her green eyes flared at the thought as she began to descend down the worn stairs that led to the first of many courtyards. The sun beating on her back and heating up the dark cloth she was forced to wear was bothersome as she strode toward the first courtyard.

A sly tone came into Amara’s soft voice and Achima’s muscles tensed, staring into her sister’s eyes she began to note the deadness in them. Though Amara held beauty that most women could never compared with, her eyes held nothing. It seemed as if her soul had given up and died a long time ago.

A woman wearing light colored garments and a red dupatta thrown over her otherwise bare shoulders appeared in the opening. Raising a hand, she beckoned Achima toward her. Quickening her pace, she approached the woman and opened her arms. They began to weep as they held each other, the older rocking Achima as if she were a child. “Sister, sister, how I wish he had not done this to you,” Amara said as she brushed tears from her tan cheeks. “How is your mother?” Tensing, Achima shook her head and refused to speak; Amara said nothing, but grabbed Achima’s hand leading her into the cool courtyard. The sound of water trickling from the multiple fountains greeted Achima as she stepped into the garden. Thick grass tickled her feet through her worn sandals. Glancing down, she noted the various flowers that surrounded them. She stared into the woman’s light blue eyes as she took her hand from Amara’s.

“You? An escaped slave speaking to Orfeo? I think not. You are not a fool, Achima. Reconsider your request. I can grant you anything else, I could even have you live in the palace with me.”

“What have they done to you?” Memories of playing with Amara, braiding her hair, and taking lessons with her came into Achima’s mind. Wincing at the pain she now felt for her sister, all envy vanished. If the life of the palace sucked the very soul from those she cared about, then she wanted nothing do to with it. Amara flinched as if Achima’s words had caused physical harm. She looked haughtily at Achima and stiffened. “Nothing. My life is one of pleasure. Your’s of pain. Why do you wish to speak to Orfeo?” Coldness had slipped into her once warm voice. “Malachi said that the King wishes me to do such.” At the mention of the King, Amara’s face paled and her eyebrows clenched in anger as she gritted her teeth. “I will grant you this and I hope my father

kills you. You disrespectful snake, how dare you mention the King when you know that Mephaust is the only one fit to rule!” Moving her hand back, she went to slap Achima, but catching Amara’s arm, Achima’s grip tightened around it. “You have lived a life devoid of good. What you call pleasure has sucked your soul from you. You have become bitter; I do not want your life. I walk a path filled with pain and sacrifice, but I have peace. I know who will catch me if I fall. My King may not be here, but He has never lead me wrong. What about Mephaust? Will he catch you if your steps falter? Will Orfeo plead your case to him? I think not, dear sister. They wish for your destruction where my King wishes for my success; He will never throw me away. I am not disposable to Him.” Bowing she let go of Amara’s arm, “Thank you for granting my request sister. I hope the truth will be revealed to you but if you never wish to see it...” Shrugging she turned walking back into the heat. Her stomach twisting in knots as tears fell from her green eyes. The girl she had known Amara to be had vanished. Why hadn’t the King protected her from the evils as He had Achima? Touching the scars on her arms, she realized that her time as a slave had served a purpose. It had saved her from becoming just like her sister. The realization made the tears flow even more. What made her different from Amara? Why had the King not chosen her? She was no better than her proud sister. Wrapping her arms around herself, she mourned the woman that Amara could have been and the childhood that had been ripped away from both of them.



Transcending Politics Thoughts on the 2012 Justice Conference



Bible always proclaims faith and justice as a unity, yet defines justice in a communal and relational sense, and not just as a matter of private piety or purity.

Judging by recent comments posted on the web, the Justice Conference that took place this weekend in Portland was a transformative And speakers like Yale’s Miroexperience for many of its 4000-plus partici- slav Volf reminded us that pants. It certainly was for me. justice requires, and even is transcended by, the imperaSponsored by Kilns College and World Relief tive to forgive. In carrying with help from Portland’s own Imago Dei out God’s plan for reconciliaCommunity, among others, the conference tion, we must obey the comfeatured diverse Christian theologians, Bibli- mand to respect and honor cal scholars, activists, evangelists, pastors and everyone, even those who authors on a large range of issues involving have harmed us, and restore justice and equity. Yet all shared a common nations torn by war through purpose and passion – to urge Christians to truth-telling and forgiveness. embrace the Biblical call to create a more just and peaceful world. Native American Richard Twiss told a story full of As one whose spent many years in what some laughter, anger and sorrow consider a “liberal” church, I have often heard about converting to the faith when evangelsocial justice and peace issues expressed ical Christianity still largely misunderstood within the framework of Christian theology Native American traditions and culture. and tradition. While I didn’t quite know what Rwandan minister Celestin Musekura spoke to expect at a conference where evangelical of his experience advocating repentance Christians were well-represented, I doubted and forgiveness after the genocide in his I’d be surprised or challenged. country. And there were dozens of other sessions, panels and workshops about particuYet, I left the conference in a kind of daze, lar issues of justice. Yet for me, the high point sensing that I had never before fully under- of the conference was the performance by stood the Biblical imperative to love and serve the Chinese-American author and activist my neighbor with my whole self. I realized Francis Chan. I must do more than I have ever dreamed of doing, namely, respond to the suffering of the Chan was the entertaining evangelist. As he world without hesitation or calculation, with told his story, I felt I was first enjoying a bit of all my resources and all my passion, and to light comedy by a simple guy who doesn’t rescue those under attack by the forces of evil, take himself too seriously. But the tone oppression and exploitation. quickly turned serious as he mounted a Biblical attack against those who cite the Bible in For me, the presenters who spoke from the defense of selfishness and greed. Also deepevangelical tradition were more compelling ly persuasive was his account of coming to than those of the progressive community. awareness of the issue of sexual exploitation True, scholars such a Walter Brueggemann of children in Asia – an awareness which led brilliantly made the case that the Hebrew to his decision to lead his congregation by

example and give himself completely to their cause. Ironically, Chan’s personal encounter with the Bible, coming out of what would seem to be a traditional, conservative evangelical Protestant hermeneutic, lent enormous power to his call to follow Jesus without compromise, without holding back, without reserving anything for self. Chan reserved some of his fiercest criticism for boomers (like me) in their senior years. The pastor made the case that we older folks need to

get over ourselves before we run out of time, noting that Jesus is absolutely unequivocal about what lies in store for those who refuse to respond to his charge to offer concrete help to the hungry, the naked and the imprisoned. The young pastor urged the older generation to commit themselves completely to the cause of the vulnerable while they still can. Listening to this simple, absolutely uncompromising account of what it means to be a follower of Jesus – an ethic which transcended any brand of politics, left or right – I felt convicted in the best sense of the word, not with mere emotion and sentiment, but by profound spiritual truth and insight. My Christian walk, I think, may never be quite the same.










I had the opportunity to attend The Justice Conference held at the Oregon Convention Center last weekend, and was able to bring two Multnomah University student journalists with me who are writing about the conference for Muse. During the two-day event, I was mining for stories for Christianity Today’s This is Our City blog, focusing on followers of Christ impacting their local communities.

Between listening to speaker after speaker share stories of individuals and families and organizations sacrificing comfort and wealth and status to reach out to the homeless and the abused and the forgotten from Portland to Palestine, I happened to wander down to another section of the Convention Center where I noticed a sign for a Women’s event. Curious, I walked closer to read the banner in front of their entryway, and saw their tag line: “PDX Women’s EXPO – Love Yourself First.” “PDX WOMEN’S EXPO

I had to chuckle as I thought about the contrasting messages of these two events just steps apart from one another at the Convention Center: The Women’s Expo’s was about loving “Yourself First” and “Shopping” and “All for YOU” while the message of The Justice Conference speakers echoed “Love God and others FIRST” and “Give all to OTHERS.” Now, I am not here to bash any women’s conference, but I found the difference quite interesting. The Justice Conference message of giving to others was echoed in speaker after speaker.



Chinese American author and church planter Francis Chan, for example, challenged the 4000 strong, “What are you doing with all this stuff? If we love our neighbors like ourselves, why don’t we spend like it? Give it away!” And, he shared a story of a couple taking in many foster care children. Talk about giving to others. And, during a panel discussion led by Multnomah Biblical Seminary’s Paul Louis Metzger’s, John Canda shared that he was not going to wait for the government to do something about Portland’s gang issue; he sensed the Holy Spirit’s call to be a regular presence in the lives of at-risk youth by “just showing up” each Friday night at the Lloyd Center Mall, one of the most problematic gang locations. And, as I wrote about in a recent Christianity Today piece, he has challenged 100 other men to join him in being a consistent presence in the lives of youth, which demonstrates someone cares. Interestingly, the very day that Canda spoke at the Conference, he headed over to Lloyd Center mall to hang out with kids, just as he does every week. For Canda, life is about OTHERS. And that’s what love and justice are all about. At the Conference, I soaked up stories by Lynne Hybels on how she is bringing attention to the plight of Palestinian Christians; and I sat intently listening to Rachel Lloyd’s story of surviving being commercially sexually exploited as a teen; and how she is now rescuing other girls who are caught in sex trafficking.


I was able to hear John M. Perkin’s story of becoming a Christ-follower in California, and then returning to his home state of Mississippi during the height of racism to live and impact others in the very state where his brother was murdered. And I had the privilege of sharing a


END PAGE | MUSE EDITORIAL DIRECTOR & FACULTY meal with him and Metzger and other speakers the evening before the conference. Shane Claiborne talked about his trip to Iraq to visit soldiers whose lives were devastated by war, and he emphasized that Christians are called to help the vulnerable from the womb to the grave. Shane was joined by Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen in their talk called, “Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream.” I learned of people digging wells in Africa and business owners reaching out to mentor youth in California. And Multnomah Biblical Seminary’s Rick McKinley shared about creating a just world, one neighborhood at a time. “We need to first get over the ‘me’ world. I cannot see my neighbor because I am so concerned about what is mine,” he said. And, Walter Brueggemann reminded us of how Jesus spent his time with lepers and those who had been disinherited by the power structure. The Son of God was moved with compassion – “These people are so hungry I cannot stand it” – to feed 4000 people and then 5000 in another setting. Yes, feeding people is a common element of justice. And, even those gathered at The Justice Conference would not argue with being fed. And, maybe, on second thought, that might be one thing that the Justice Conference and the PDX Women’s Expo attendees had in common at the Oregon Convention Center – enjoying food. And to the surprise of Justice Conference attendees,1200 mini tubs of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream were handed out after Claiborne and Cohen’s talk. Now, we’re talking justice. __________________________________





Muse 004: The Love Edition  

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